When Italy launched her ill-advised, ill-executed attack upon Greece in November, 1940, the most immediate and concrete military result was the British occupation of Crete at the invitation of the Greek Government. In this long, mountainous island, nearly blocking the entrance of the Aegean Sea and seemingly easy to defend, Britain secured a highly valuable naval and air base. From Crete her forces of sea and air were able for the time being to render nearly innocuous the Italian positions in the Dodecanese, to give powerful aid to the Greeks in Albania and, broadly speaking, to tighten her hold on the Eastern Mediterranean and on the vital link in her life line, the Suez Canal. It may be that in the titanic struggle raging in the Levant the possession of Crete, which the British have unhappily been forced to relinquish, will be held by the future military historian to be decisive in the result.
The Byzantine Reconquest of Crete: A Historical Example of the Silent Pressure of Sea Power
By Arthur MacCartney Shepard